Keeping players happy 'not just a United issue'
Ralf Rangnick says keeping the squad happy is a task all managers have to balance and that it isn’t a problem exclusive to him at Manchester United.
Since overcoming a COVID-19 outbreak just before Christmas, which resulted in the games with Brentford and Brighton being postponed, Ralf has had virtually a full complement of outfield players to work with, bar a few defensive issues for the 1-0 defeat to Wolves on Monday.
Phil Jones came in at centre-back for that game for his first appearance in almost two years, as Harry Maguire and Eric Bailly were injured. Victor Lindelof has also missed the last two games with COVID-19.
Rangnick acknowledges that United, as is the case with other clubs, do have a large squad of first-team players, when everyone is fit, and that means that not everyone can get on the pitch at the same time.
“This is not only an issue with a club like Manchester United,” Rangnick told reporters at a press conference, to preview Monday’s Emirates FA Cup clash with Aston Villa.
“When you have a big squad, and we have a big squad, we have at least in the last two games had most of those players available. Yes, we had an issue with three centre-backs missing out against Wolves but, in general, we had most of the players available apart from Paul Pogba.
“If you have that many players and only 10 [outfield] players can play and three [are] being substituted, then of course you have quite a number of players, in our case 12, 13, 14 players who don't play or are not even being in the squad.”
Ralf continued by saying players are naturally happier when playing regular football, but that when he has to leave someone out of the side, he does his best to explain the reasons why.
“That those players are not happy about that situation is clear, it's obvious. In total, we have a big squad,” he added.
“I tend to explain to players, every two to three weeks, why they are not playing but, obviously, I cannot do that in every game.
“That is an issue in our team as well as other clubs.”